[Read] ➪ Stepping Out By Elizabeth Bernard – Dailytradenews.co.uk

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    They look like the same two models from books 3 and 4 so I ll assume that s Kay and Alex on the front cover The book opens in the midst of Nutcracker rehearsals for Bay Area Ballet s upcoming performance starring Kay Larkin, Leah s friend and fellow first year student, as Clara first year students get WAY too many breaks in this series Leah is concerned about Alex who has been acting depressed and out of sorts lately She confides her worries to Kay and they decide Alex is just missing her family at Christmastime The SFBA boys arrive to kidnap the girls for a come as you are party at Ben Lydgate s house whose parents are big SFBA patrons Even in her green clay mask and oiled hair, Alex manages to catch the heart of Ben Lydgate Andrei Levintoff Bernard s nod to Baryshnikov is also at the party and Leah talks to him Later Alex is seen leaving the party with Ben much to Pamela Hunter s dismay At Madame Preston s Sunday morning class they learn the Kirov Ballet, with whom Alex has many connections, is coming to town to perform for the public For precaution s sake Madame announces all SFBA dancers from Russia, like Alex and Andrei, are FORBIDDEN to attend any parties and performances involving the Kirov for fear of international trouble When class is dismissed, Leah and Kay discover Alex has disappeared This is hot news in the dressing room Pamela tells L and K to mind their own business Alex can take care of herself Naturally, the girls pay no attention to this sage advice Pam is not to be trusted While taking the bus to attend a lecture on oriental dances, Leah and Kay think they are being followed by communist spies Beware of anyone wearing trench coats, low brimmed felt hats and sunglasses who turn out to be ordinary Japanese Americans also on their way to the museum to attend the same lecture Leah and Kay laugh at themselves and their wild 15 year old imaginations Alex keeps getting secret phone calls and is mysteriously blas about it Then Leah has another of her silly dreams In this one she dances like a wind up toy, unable to stop, while Alex is carried away, against her will, by men wearing trench coats and wide brimmed felt hats Leah wakes up convinced her best friend is in terrible danger Following Nutcracker rehearsals the next day, Leah, Alex and the girls hit Cocoa Nuts Alex is uncommonly loud and boisterous Unable to ignore this, Kay is nudging Leah when they suddenly see a cute guy from across the room who can t take his eyes off their table To L and K s horror he WINKS at Alex but the chapter ends and sadly no one gets carried off by terrorists in trench coats The next night Leah is returning to the boardinghouse in damp, foggy weather where she sees a sinister figure lurking outside the house under a streetlight It s a man He s wearing a cap, a tan jacket AND he s standing right under Alex s bedroom window Leah is about to call the police to report the imminent KGB attack when the man sees Leah and bolts and the call is never made Leah is still shaking as she enters the house to find everyone has gone to bed The phone rings It s a Russian man who addresses Leah by name and gives her a message that Alex is to meet him tomorrow at three, Alex knows where Leah demands an explanation but the man hangs up Completely creeped out, Leah does NOT go straight to Alex s room to tell her what she just experienced but to Kay The next morning Leah finds Alex giggling and whispering in yet another mysterious phone call those KGB boys are such flirts Alex waves off L and K so they leave for morning class without her Leah suspects Alex is now planning to run away with her friends from the Kirov and return to the USSR where Leah can t follow and steal all the good dance roles Great sleuthing skills there, Leah At the Kirov performance, Andrei is wearing his own disguise dressed as an old man in a black felt hat and cape Not wanting to blow his cover Leah and Kay take their seats without talking to him and search the crowd for Alex She s not there Distracted from the performance onstage, Leah suddenly realizes the same man she saw lurking outside the boardinghouse the other night is sitting right across the isle from them AND he s the same man who had been eyeing their table in Coca Nuts He catches Leah s eye and winks Oh no, that s the KGB s secret signal Leah panics and the girls get out of there fast Alex is not at the boardinghouse and when the girls check her bedroom they find most of her things are missing This confirms Leah s worst suspicions Alex, brainwashed by the KGB, discouraged by her stalling dance career, has run away Because all Russian defectors keep tabs on each other, L and K go to Andrei s apartment to see if he knows anything They find Andrei has company He s entertaining all the members from the Kirov who are understandably pissed off at the Americans for crashing their party Andre isn t sure why the girls would come to him for help in finding Alex but he suggests they call M Preston and tell her everything Andrei even makes the call, explains the situation to Madame who tells them to come right over At Madame s house, a bunch of official looking American men come parading in The girls shriek when they see the same man, who s been spying on Alex, enter the room He s revealed to be none other than Mr Munroe from the FBI, not the KGB He was enlisted by the San Fran Police Department for Alex s own protection L and K tell the policemen everything they know, which isn t much, and once it s determined that Alex is indeed missing, the girls are quickly dismissed and Andrei takes them home Nice going girls, despite your good intentions, you just ratted on your best friend At Nutcracker rehearsals next day Leah is so tired from lack of sleep worrying over Alex, she can hardly dance should ve listened to Pam As they exit rehearsals they see Alex in the hallway with Mrs Hanson and Mrs Lydgate She s quickly ushered inside the office so Madame can give Alex the third degree before L and K can get any answers Back in Alex s room, L and K patiently await her return When Alex finally arrives, she doubles over with laughter and reveals the whole plot.Alex spent the entire weekend with Ben Lydgate, NOT her Russian friends or even the KGB Ben snuck her off to some college where she drank everyone under the tables and was crowned Queen of the Frat People, proving that Alex s life is about 137 times awesome than Leah and Kay s Even though she s in big trouble with Madame by jeopardizing her career and breaking the rules, Alex declares she is in love Leah is just a tiny bit jealous that Alex now has to balance being in love with her dancing career Don t worry Leah you ll get your turn in the next book

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